Swimmer cleans up South Florida waters as a mermaid

Mermaids are mythical creatures: half woman, half wild-caught salmon … or something like that, and they’re very, very rare.

But if you’re lucky, you might see one in SoFlo. Deco caught up with a real-life mermaid on a mission.

A Disney movie is the closest most of us will get to a mermaid, but Ariel has nothing on this South Beach swimmer. 29-year-old Merle Liivand spends her free time under the sea!

Merle Liivand: “I was always kind of curious why Michael Phelps was the fastest swimmer in this world, and I realized it’s because he does the fastest underwater dolphin mermaid kick. And then I realized it’s more fun creating the whole mermaid concept around the professional kick.”

Merle swims for more than just kicks. She competed at the 2019 World Championships and set a world record, swimming 13 miles with her mermaid fin.

Merle Liivand: “When I come out with my mermaid outfit in the ocean, of course everyone wants to film and talk about you, what you’re doing, why you’re a mermaid, and it’s a way to make a wake-up call and draw attention to our oceans.”

Being half-human/half-fish sounds like fun, but this mermaid has a mission. She swims four miles a day in Biscayne Bay to keep our water clean.

Merle Liivand: “I start seeing more trash around Florida waters, and it kind of frustrated me. At some point, I said, ‘Wait a second, this is what the mermaid should be doing. She should address the issue.’”

Daryl Hannah turned into a mermaid in “Splash,” with just a splash of water. But for Merle, it’s a bit more complicated.

Merle Liivand: “So the fin is 100% silicone. I luckily found a Florida-based company, Magic Mermaids. They’ve been helping me create the mermaid outfit, and of course, it’s a little bit shiny.”

When it comes to saving our oceans, who better to lead the charge than a mermaid?

Merle Liivand: “I would love to see every person in this planet Earth knowing how to swim and knowing how to take care of the oceans.”


Merle Liivand’s Instagram

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